TankCraft 11, Sherman Tanks...


...US Army, North Western Europe 1944-45, from Pen and Sword


Title: TankCraft 11, Sherman Tanks

Author: Dennis Oliver

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-52674-186-8


Book No 11 in the TankCraft series from Pen and Sword, and another in this series by author Dennis Oliver who has returned to the topic of the Sherman Tank. This time it is for those used by the US Army in North West Europe 1944-45.  A 64-page softc0ver book it follows the same basic format as others in the series.

It opens with an introduction that outlines the historical background of the M4 tank series and this is followed by maps and outline of their involvement in the North West European campaign.  Then it moves on to give a brief outline of the history of each of the 15 US Armoured division that played a part in the campaign, along with the divisional structures of March 1942 plus the revised one of September 1943. Then it starts on similar details for their 36 Separate Tank Battalions.  This element is split into two sections, and in between are 3 other elements.  The first involves Camouflage & Markings, with 9 pages of excellent colour profiles, along with smaller details/markings as well.  Next is a showcase of some finely done models, just three in this case - an M4 75mm Crocodile Flamethrower of the 739th Tank Battalion in Germany, in the spring of 1945.  Then an M4A1 76mm of the 771st Tank Battalion in Germany in April 1945 and finally, an M4A3 Calliope T-34 Rocket Launcher of the 12th Armored Division in France, during March 1945.  This in turn os followed by a section listing a variety of kits in various scales, in plastic and resin, along with conversions and accessories.

Then we get back to the second half of the section tackling the Separate Tank Battalions. This leads into a few pages on Technical Details and Modifications.  As the author points out, he doesn't claim to include all of them, there are too many, but is does cover many of the well used terms, telling us more about features such as M4 Small and Large Hatch hulls; different turret hatches and cupolas; and the terms 'Wet' and 'Dry' turrets, depending on the type of ammunition stowage.

The Sherman Tank is a huge topic, and this one does well in confining itself to the gun tank variations used by the US Army in NW Europe.  Useful historical background on the units that used them, accompanied by lots of archive photos throughout the book, accompanied by equally informative captions.  Add the information for modellers, a showcase of 3 well finished models and pages of excellent artwork profiles, this is very much a modellers' book and would be a useful addition to your reference bookshelf.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.